More than 3,800 children in Redbridge without a permanent home
- Credit: Archant
More than 3,000 children in Redbridge do not have a permanent home, the latest official figures have revealed.
Across England, more than 123,000 children are living in temporary accommodation, a situation described by housing charity Shelter as a “national emergency”.
In Redbridge, a total of 2,295 households were in bed and breakfasts and other temporary accommodation at the end of June, figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government show.
Altogether, it meant 3,841 children in Redbridge were living without a permanent home at the end of June.
The council said it is doing everything it can to tackle the shortage, and that increasing rents, benefit changes and the “impact of austerity” are among the reasons why people in Redbridge are finding it much harder to find suitable accommodation in the private sector.
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Building new housing, committing to delivering 1,000 affordable homes and introducing a selective licensing scheme across the borough are some of the ways the council has said it is trying to prevent homelessness.
At a rate of 20 homeless households for every 1,000 in the area, homelessness was much more prevalent in Redbridge than across England as a whole.
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The figures, covering April to June this year, are the first to be released since the new Homelessness Reduction Act come into force in April which aims to get local councils to do more to help people without a home.
Charity Shelter said the number of homeless children in temporary accommodation was 3,000 higher than last year and the highest in 11 years.
The charity’s campaign director Greg Beales said: “This is now a national emergency. Every day we hear horror stories about homeless families faced with dirty, cold and even rat-infested hostels. Whole families forced to share one room and even beds, and children too scared to leave their block to use the communal bathrooms during the night.”
Terrie Alafat, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: “These figures reveal the stark reality of the homelessness crisis we are facing in this country - the fact that more than 120,000 children were living in temporary accommodation in June 2018 is quite simply a national disgrace.”
A Redbridge Council spokeswoman said: “With increasing rents, benefit changes and the impact of austerity, many people in our borough are finding it much harder to find suitable accommodation in the private sector.
“We also have far fewer council properties than other London boroughs which means the council must rely on temporary accommodation to meet the needs of the many thousands who are homeless and on our waiting list.
“We are doing everything we can to tackle the shortage and have seen a significant reduction in the number of families in B&B’s in the last twelve months as a result of our efforts.
“This includes building new housing, committing to delivering 1,000 affordable homes and introducing a selective licensing scheme across the borough to improve the availability of high-quality accommodation in the private sector and help prevent homelessness.”